East Asian Languages and Cultures (Bi-College)

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    The Rise of Peasant Nationalism in Chinese Rural Areas during WWII
    (2023) Wang, Wenyun; Jiang, Yonglin
    With only 7,000 members surviving the Long March in 1935, the Chinese Communist Party’s victory over the Kuomintang in 1949 intrigued numerous historians. While scholars generally agree that the awakened nationalism in rural communities played an indispensable role in the CCP’s ultimate victory, they have debated for decades to pinpoint the fundamental cause of such ideology and its relationship with the CCP. This paper attempts to analyze the rise of peasant nationalism in China through the perspective of first-person oral narratives by Chinese peasants who lived through the Anti-Japanese War. A total of fourteen oral records were identified from “the Oral Data Center of WWII Chinese Veterans” by the Nanjing Normal University and the Oral Record of Veterans in Anti-Japanese War by the Jiangsu Phoenix Literature and Art Publishing. In addition, the author conducted a personal interview with Chen Xurong, an 88-year-old peasant from Hebei. Using these accounts as evidence, this paper argues that the rise of peasant nationalism in China was fundamentally induced by Japanese atrocities during WWII, but the CCP’s propaganda efforts was also a crucial pull factor in fomenting these sentiments and rallying popular support. The first section rebuts Mark Seldon’s argument by analyzing the “non-existent” nature of the CCP’s social reforms. Subsequently, this paper reviews the significance of Japanese cruelty and support Chalmers Johnson’s claim. Before concluding with a brief discussion on the contemporary consequences of peasant nationalism, the penultimate section examines how the CCP utilized wartime propaganda to associate the notion of Chinese nationalism with its own political ideologies.
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    The Relationship Between Humans and Animals: Qin to the Tang Dynasties
    (2023) Mehta, Isha; Jiang, Yonglin
    The relationship between humans and animals in the West is well understood. Scholars believe laws on animals are based on the philosophies of early Greek philosophy. The relationship between humans and animals in the East, specifically in imperial China, is less studied. This thesis attempts to answer how humans perceived animals in the Qin, Han, and Tang dynasties based on dynastic law codes. It also considers the impact of ideologies on this relationship. Because the legal codes cover extensive topics, this paper analyzes statutes pertaining to three themes in the texts: hunting, transactions between individuals and the government, and animal husbandry. Additionally, there are assumptions made about the ideologies in each dynasty affecting perceptions of animals: Legalism was dominant in the Qin dynasty, Legalism and Confucianism were equally influential during the Han dynasty, and Confucianism was the dominant ideology in the Tang dynasty. The primary finding from examining the Qin, Han, and Tang codes, in the context of the aforementioned ideologies, is that humans viewed animals as tools to fulfill human activities. However, this relationship strengthened over time, as reflected by the language in the legal codes. Increased Confucian ideas, especially beliefs in the cosmic hierarchy, and eroding Legalist values that emphasized centralized power contributed to this change.
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    Tibetan with a Taste of Mongolian: How Local Regulations and Foreign Forces on Reincarnation Form a Tibetan Buddhist Temple in Northeastern China
    (2023) Liu, Huayu; Glassman, Hank
    The reincarnation system is unique to Tibetan Buddhism, and tulkus (reincarnating buddhas) are spiritual and political leaders who play an essential role in bridging religious and secular power. While prominent reincarnation lines such as the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama influence on a national level, they are also crucial elements guiding the choice of reincarnating children in ethnic Mongolian Tibetan Buddhist monasteries such as Pu’an Temple. By focusing on Pu’an Temple, a Tibetan Buddhist temple in Fuxin Mongol Autonomous County of Liaoning Province, this article examines the reincarnation line of the abbot from 1632 to the present, centering around the abbot’s frequent trips to Tibet and the natal families of the reincarnating children. This thesis aims to use the reincarnation line of the abbot of Pu’an Temple as a lens to understand the history and the current state of Tibetan Buddhism in China. This thesis focuses on two key questions to understand the legalization and the crucial issues surrounding reincarnation. First, considering the increasing local governmental regulations on religion since the Qing dynasty and external forces outside of China, how do ethnic Mongolian Tibetan Buddhists navigate these restrictions and other interventions in northeastern China? Second, how do these ethnic Mongolian reincarnated buddhas maintain influence and receive resources to support their Tibetan Buddhist monasteries outside Tibet? Additionally, this article seeks to understand how Tibetan Buddhist activities in Tibet, directly and indirectly, affect monasteries outside of Tibet. The main findings of this research indicate that policies permitting and restricting religious activities as well as the affirmation or refutation of the legitimacy of Buddhist masters, both locally and globally, are fundamental components of controlling Tibetan Buddhism in China.
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    The Metamorphosis of the Mermaid: On the Transformation of Fairy Tales in Japan
    (2023) Lin, Rebecca; Glassman, Hank
    Fairy tales provide not only a source of entertainment, but a reflection of the values and societal beliefs around each time they are retold. Across time and across countries, they have been not only transmitted, but also adapted, changed based on their surrounding context and the views of those telling the story. In this regard, when it comes to an analysis of a particular culture as a whole, it is important to look at its traditions and content as less of a static, isolated subject; rather, in the setting of a changing society that both is influenced by other cultures and influences them in turn. Thus, rather than looking solely at Japanese fairy tales that originate from Japan, the thesis chooses to focus on a Western fairy tale as it is experienced through a Japanese lens. Through an examination of how the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid is retold in Japanese media, especially in the 2008 film Ponyo, the influence of Japanese trends both modern and traditional can be investigated. While Ponyo is loosely derived from The Little Mermaid, as can be seen in plot beats and motifs – a half-fish, half-girl who turns human out of love for one, a risk of turning into seafoam if not for true love - additional elements transform it into a work distinct from the source tale. This thesis delves into how factors such as: Shintoist beliefs, the environmentalist movement in Japan, nostalgia for a simpler past, and themes of gratitude and hospitality within native Japanese folktales all contribute to the way the film differs from its original inspiration, and therefore the ways in which Ponyo reflects aspects of Japanese society.
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    Erroneous Translations: A Love Letter to Those Whose Voice Has Been Rewritten Through the Western Lens
    (2023) Garner, Sydney P.; Glassman, Hank
    This thesis takes a look at erroneous translations as a reflection on Western society because it highlights how there is still a divide between the people with voices and the voiceless. The structure of the thesis will focus on Li Bai’s most famous poem from the Tang Dynasty, “Ballad of a Merchant’s Wife” and compare it to the English translation by Ezra Pound called “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter”. This English translation rewrites the term translation as a manipulation of words. The concept of manipulation parallels with the intentions of cultural appropriation as an exploitive measure that puts minority groups' culture on display for pleasure. Whiteness and white privilege is something that has never changed and is even prevalent within poetry and translation of poetry. I will prove this by including the analysis of Kenneth Goldsmith’s poem inspired by Michael Brown’s autopsy report. So that we may conclude that poetry is a very personal look into the poet and a translation will lose what makes a poem so special, which is their voice.